Getting enough sleep makes you feel refreshed, well-rested, and ready for a new day. However, balancing between family, friends, work, chores, and other obligations rarely leaves time for getting a good night’s rest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one-third of Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep. In addition to feeling tired, not sleeping enough can cause numerous health conditions, one of which is diabetes.
Read on to learn the minimum amount of sleep you need to log in to avoid jeopardizing your health and developing diabetes.
Not Getting Enough Sleep Significantly Increases the Risk of Diabetes
A study published in the Nature and Science of Sleep journal explored the connection between getting enough sleep and diabetes. The researchers gathered healthcare records from 84,404 adult participants. They classified the participants into five categories based on the amount of sleep they get:
- Less than five hours
- Five to six hours
- Six to seven hours
- Seven to eight hours
- More than eight hours
The results showed that those who slept for less than five hours were 58% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who slept seven to eight hours.
How can lack of sleep be related to diabetes? When our bodies don’t get enough sleep, our hormone levels become irregular. One of these is cortisol, the primary stress hormone. In addition to cortisol, blood sugar levels increase as well. The pancreas tries to balance out the increase by producing more insulin. But, due to the increased cortisol levels, the insulin can’t do its job efficiently, and those high glucose levels remain in your bloodstream.
Over time, the pancreas loses its ability to regulate blood sugar levels via insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the inability to utilize insulin properly.
Sleep Deprivation Can Also Cause Obesity
As mentioned, lack of sleep affects hormone levels. Changes in hormones that signal hunger or satiety have been identified in people that don’t get enough sleep.
Increased levels of hormones like leptin, the satisfaction hormone, and ghrelin, the hunger hormone, can disrupt eating patterns and habits and lead to obesity.
Lack of Sleep Affects Our Mental Health
Not getting enough sleep affects many of your cognitive processes. It shortens your attention span, makes it hard to focus, and impacts your problem-solving skills. The lack of sleep can even lead to accidents, injuries, and mistakes at work that could jeopardize your overall health.
But sleep deprivation can do so much more than that. It can also lead to depression and anxiety, irritability, sensitivity and can trigger intense mood swings.
Additionally, not sleeping enough clouds our judgment, especially when assessing the effects of sleep deprivation. Experts say that sleep-deprived people tend to feel they got used to sleeping less than necessary. However, mental alertness and performance tests suggest otherwise: it’s impossible to get used to a lack of sleep.
Don’t Sleep for Too Long
You may think that getting more than enough sleep will protect you from those health conditions. But oversleeping carries its own risks. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that getting more than nine hours of sleep per night could increase heart disease risks, especially in women.
If you’re sleeping more than eight or nine hours every night and you still feel tired, you may have underlying health conditions. Feeling drained in the morning could indicate anemia, thyroid problems, or sleep apnea.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Our sleep needs change with age. Typically, the older we get, the less rest we need. In addition to age, sleep amounts also depend on an individual’s lifestyle, diet, etc.
The National Sleep Foundation and American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) created a chart to help you estimate the recommended amount of sleep for different age groups:
- Newborns: 14-17 hours
- Infants: 12-15 hours
- Toddlers: 11-14 hours
- Preschool children: 10-13 hours
- School-age: 9-11 hours
- Teenagers: 8-10 hours
- Young adults and adults: 7-9 hours
- Older adults: 7-8 hours
Prevent Diabetes With a Healthy Sleep Routine
Sleeping less than five hours per night can significantly increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Although you may not feel tired, lousy sleeping habits can have a series of consequences for both your physical and mental health and can be a sign of underlying conditions. Getting enough sleep shouldn’t be a luxury: it’s an essential process for maintaining your health.